So whenever I have a day for which I have no Amsterdam Birthday Celebrants nominated or selected, I do a cursory Google search like the one I did for today’s date. I entered “born in Amsterdam, NY on September 13” and hit the “search” button. I then browse through the results to see what comes up. The listings usually include several obituary and Ancestry.com entries and I usually click on a few of those to see if there’s an interesting Birthday Blog post hiding within one.
That’s how I found the obituary listing for a lady named Patricia Ann Parker, who was born in Kingston, NY on September 13, 1931. Her obit stated that she had passed away in November of 2014, that at the time of her death she was a resident at the Wilkinson Center and that she had worked for years as an insurance agent for the Martin & Bergen Insurance Agency here in Amsterdam and also once had her own miniature doll house business up in Perth. Then I discovered the “story” I was looking for. Patricia Ann Parker had once been a singer in Dusty Miller’s band. I had just researched the career of “Amsterdam’s favorite Cowboy” for the Birthday post I wrote for Dusty and I had found a piece in a 1951 issue of the Amsterdam Evening Recorder that I fell in love with. I remember when I read it, I couldn’t figure out if it was intended as a story or an ad, which made its presence in our local paper even more interesting to me. Here’s the content of that piece, beginning with its provocative headline:
Patty Lane, Real Dream Stuff, Appearing With “Dusty” Miller; Everyone in town, and then some, knows by now that “Dusty” Miller must really have something on the ball to keep packing them in at Barney’s Night Club, 178 E. Main St., Friday and Saturday nights. They just love the blending of round and square dancing and one of the main attractions is Miller’s bright young singing star , Patty Lane. The title “Dream Stuff” fits her perfectly, if one would like to dream of about 115 pounds of dynamite all wrapped up in. a pretty package. She has natural wavy brown hair , two big brown eyes, a cute spunky turned up nose that mixes in with pretty lips and white teeth. The gown she wears’ does its best to dress a perfect young body that is so much alive every minute. Patty was born with Stardust in her eyes. Added to this is a very pleasing voice that carries the warmth of a natural gift rather than a professional training. Patty has her own way of singing. Patty Lane is making a lot of friends for herself, and for “Dusty” Miller and his band, so when the crowds do gather at Barney’s every week-end, one can easily feel that “Dusty” and Barney are mighty fortunate to have this “Dream Stuff” on their bandstand. Get to know Patty with all of her nineteen years. She has all of the makings of tomorrow’s big stars.
Could Patricia Ann Parker and Patty Lane be one in the same? Two other facts from her obituary made it clear to me she was. Patricia Parker’s mother’s maiden name had been Lane and Parker had been married to Elmer Rossi Jr. for 24 years. Dusty Miller’s real name was Elmer Rossi Sr. so Parker had once been married to Dusty’s son. Mystery solved.
After her marriage to Rossi, she married Don Parker of Perth, NY and became an active and valued member of the Perth community for the last four decades of her life.
Reading that long ago Recorder piece about Lane had made me regret that I wasn’t around back then to hear her sing. Reading her obituary made me regret that I could not call her on the phone before writing this post, to discuss the very interesting history of her life.
This Amsterdam-born Emmy-Award winning television writer also has a September 13th Birthday.